Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has introduced legislation that would make more exempt workers eligible for overtime pay. The bill, called the Restoring Overtime Pay for Working Americans Act (S. 2486), would amend current Fair Labor Standards Act () salary thresholds that trigger the for executive, administrative and professional employees.
The legislation comes on the heels of President Obama’s call in March for the Department of Labor to propose new rules to “update and modernize” the FLSA’s professional exemptions. The way the law works now, a salaried employee earning more than $455 per week is ineligible for overtime pay.
Harkin’s bill would raise the threshold in steps over the course of three years, eventually reaching $1,090 per week. Afterward, the threshold would be indexed to inflation.
“Today, only 12% of salaried workers are guaranteed overtime pay based on their salaries, compared to 65% in 1975,” Harkin said in a statement. “This bill would restore overtime protections by guaranteeing coverage to approximately 47% of salaried workers.”
The legislation would also clarify that managers must spend more than half of their time performing supervisory ortasks to be considered exempt from the FLSA’s overtime provisions. It would also add stiff penalties for violations of the FLSA’s recordkeeping requirements.
Eight Senate Democrats joined Harkin in sponsoring the bill. While it stands a chance of passing in the Senate, it is unlikely to even move out of committee in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.